“one play can change the game!”

Chances are if you’ve been anywhere near social media this week, you’ve seen commentary of the Indianapolis Colt’s fake punt play that went horribly bad against the New England Patriots.  If not, here is a clip from ESPN First Take:


While watching the game, and even following in the game in the post game interviews, no one seemed to know what went wrong.  Coach Chuck Pagano called it a “communications” problem for which he took full responsibility.  But where was the breakdown?  What could the team have even been thinking?  It was the oddest play selection many have ever seen.

Well, later in the week, Punter Pat McAfee shared during the Bob and Tom Show more details of the strategy and what went so horribly wrong.  If you so choose, you’re welcome to watch this 20 minute video to hear firsthand:

In short, one significant part of strategy was to give the perception that the Colts were doing a mass substitution planning to bring there offense back on the field in a 4 and 3 situation.  Doing so, would hopefully catch the defense off guard causing them to mass substitute as well.  The offense would snap the ball catching the defense with 12 men on the field resulting in a 5 yard penalty and a first down.

So, the primary thing which went wrong was the original player responsible for snapping the football was injured earlier in the game.  Thus, the backup for that position missed a key communication in practice the prior week focused on whether or not to snap the football.  There was a slight game plan change that he wasn’t in the loop that was the root cause of the fail fake punt resulting is likely the lose of the game from most people’s prospective.

This entire situation brought back many memories of a talk I like to give on Turning Points.  Here is a brief excerpt from an upcoming book I’m due to publish.

One of my favorite talks to give is about “turning points” or “defining moments” and how “one play can change the game”. In it, I normally ask the audience to take a few minutes to reflect back on 3-5 key turning points in their life. These are normally defining moments which totally changed the trajectory of your life in a direction that there was no turning back. In my own personal story, I talk about meeting Lisa, my wife, winning a state championship in high school, and accepting Jesus Christ as my personal savior as being defining moments early on in my life that shape who I am today. Even better than sharing this in a public speaking engagement, I enjoy having one-on-one conversations with folks where I get to hear firsthand what comes to mind when people stop to reflect and talk about defining moments in their lives.

It is truly amazing sometime to think about how “one play changed that game” in our lives. As example, I occasionally reflect upon Lisa’s father decision to not move at one point in his career. It’s because of this decision that they eventually moved to the Greencastle area, where we met, and our now married. If Lisa’s dad would have moved the family to southern Indiana, Lisa and I wouldn’t have met, wouldn’t have married, wouldn’t have two kids, and wouldn’t have shared the life experiences we’ve been privileged to share. Amazing, isn’t it; “one play can change the game”!

Yes, it’s amazing to look back upon many of our lives circumstance and see how “one play can change the game”.   However, the point is not so much about looking back on life in many of my discussions as it is to keep this in mind moving forward.  This can be viewed in light of a few different context of which I’ll offer a couple.

First, in speaking with teams, I often use the “one play can change the game” analogy to reference the need for preparation and the entire team taking responsibility for each team member on the team.  Most people get that they have a responsibility to bring “their” contribution to the team; however, they don’t look through the lens of how they are responsible for every individual’s contribution.  And, as the Colt’s saw this past week, how one individual’s breakdown on the team can be that “one play that changes the game”.

More so, I use the “one play can change the game” analogy in instilling hope and reminding leaders to stay in the game.  For that client who seems to be beating their head against the wall not being able to breakthrough their greatest challenge, my encouragement is to never forget that “one play can change the game”.  Yes, countless times in my own life and the lives of the people I’m in relationship, I’ve seen where one phone call, one new idea, one step back in their position, or one etc, has created a “defining moment” that totally transforms their lives or businesses.  Thus, we have to stay in the game and continue to prepare with great anticipation of what is to come.

Yes, my friends, one play can and will change the game in your life.  Never lose track of this whether you’re in a “valley” or at “the top of the mountain”.  Because of this, you must always stay grounded and true to who and whos you are.

God bless!

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